More specifically, how prevalent they are.
Some desperately want to believe that the so-called JoeBots are a small minority of fans (“the same hundred idiots”, etc). I think that’s naive.
If you divide Penn State’s fanbase into “highly engaged” versus “casual”, then discard the casual, then you’re left with the determination of “how many are JoeBots”.
I believe the PS4RS voting, and the internet, shows us that the proportion of JoeBots to sane Penn Staters among the “highly engaged” is at least 2-1 in favor of JoeBots (and that’s me being very conservative). Unfortunately, the older voting results (pre-Sandusky) don’t seem to show overall turnout, but the characterization by the media has been that turnout increased massively (the high point was north of 37,000 votes last year; presumably the pre-Sandusky turnout was at least under 20,000 or it could not have been labelled as a ‘surge’).
That means at least ten or twenty thousand new people voted in the trustee election post-Sandusky. And obviously the vast majority of them voted for PS4RS. This is not consistent with “the same hundred idiots” characterization some prefer.
Now compare to the number of highly engaged ‘sane’ Penn Staters. Take every screen name at BSD that’s ever posted, if you think those guys are sane (I don’t, but they’re perhaps saneR than PS4RS at least). Stack up against ten or twenty thousand new JoeBot voters and tell me which one is bigger.
This doesn’t mean “most Penn Staters are JoeBots”. There’s no way to tell that. What it does mean is that the people who think the JoeBots are a tiny fringe are likely not correct. There’s a shitload of people who don’t pay attention, likely dwarfing both groups, but “JoeBot” is almost surely a much larger group than “sane and engaged”.